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Best cruises for families on holiday

Cash in on some quality family time on these family-friendly cruise lines.

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Multi-generational holidays are the new family reunions. They’re an ideal way to catch up, unwind and explore with loved ones without having to worry about taking care of accommodation, food and transportation between ports.

Whether you’re a family of three or a party of 20, these lines are the specialists when it comes to organising family cruises that tick all the boxes for young and old. All you need to do is choose the destination.

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1. Disney Cruise Line

Disney has secured its spot as a magical brand the whole family can enjoy, and its cruises are no different.

There's a little bit of magic in store for every member of your crew when you board a Disney cruise ship. Adults have freedom to escape to their own heavenly oases onboard while little ones can play in supervised youth groups or in activity playground.

  • Activities for the whole family: Broadway-style live shows, Walt Disney theatre, karaoke, trivia, music and dance deck parties, family-friendly port activities and kids' pools.
  • Family cabins: Disney's liners have deluxe family staterooms that are ideal for up to five guests. For larger families, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy have over 500 connecting cabins.
  • Family discounts: Discounted rates for children sharing a cabin with parents.

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2. Norwegian Cruise Line

Norwegian has a reputation for providing some of the best entertainment at sea for young and old.

Featuring Broadway-style musicals, areas for various sports and pools complete with waterslides and deckchairs, Norwegian's activities aim to bring families together onboard. If you're looking for the best European cruise for families, this line is it.

  • Activities for the whole family: Broadway musicals, mini-golf, bowling, circus and magician shows, water parks, rope courses and rock climbing walls.
  • Family cabins: Connecting staterooms are available for multi-generational parties. Family staterooms are best for families of four.
  • Family discounts: On most sailings, Norwegian offers discounts for the third to the eighth guest in one party.

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3. Carnival Cruise Line

Not all families are made the same, so Carnival gives you and your brood plenty of options to play it your way.

With basketball courts and a fast and steep water slide for kids, and a casino and adults-only retreat for parents, there's a reason why Carnival is referred to as the "fun" cruise line. It currently offers more than 200 family-friendly activities across

  • Activities for the whole family: Dr Seuss-themed entertainment, water slides, mini-golf, swimming pools, basketball and dive-in movies.
  • Family cabins: Family staterooms can accommodate up to four. Interconnecting rooms are available
  • Family discounts: Discounts for third and fourth guests in the same room.

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4. P&O Cruises Australia

With home ports in Australia, New Zealand and Asia, P&O keeps the family trip close to home with a shorter journey to the wharf, making it one of the best cruises for families in Australia.

As a bonus for older families, P&O limits the number of children who embark, so you can expect a good mix of ages onboard its family-friendly fleet. As an estimate, around one third of its passengers are either families or multi-generationals.

  • Activities for the whole family: Movies by the pool, theatre performances, live music and trivia and game shows.
  • Family cabins: Three- and four-berth rooms. Cabin configurations tend to be twin beds with one to two upper bunk beds.
  • Family discounts: Discounts available for groups of 16 guests or more.

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5. Royal Caribbean International

Winner of the Top Cruise Lines for Families by Travel + Leisure readers in 2013, Royal Caribbean creates holidays the whole family can enjoy.

It achieves this with a blend of one-of-a-kind kids, family and adult activities both onboard and onshore. These include a skydiving simulator and surfing simulator. Royal Caribbean also offers group discounts and customisation options.

  • Activities for the whole family: Roller skating rink, bumper cars, circus school, surf simulator, mini-golf, exclusive DreamWorks shows and parades.
  • Family cabins: Generous family and two-bedroom cabins can accommodate up to eight people.
  • Family discounts: Discounts for third and fourth passengers in the same cabin.

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6. Captain Cook Cruises

When it comes to the best voyages for families in Australia, Captain Cook Cruises is right up there.

Aussie born and bred, this cruise line sails in and around our nation. It features up to week-long cruises through the Murray River and the Fiji islands. Cruise ships to Fiji have kids' clubs, childminding services, swimming pools and entertainment.

  • Activities for the whole family: Sightseeing, whale watching, hop-on/hop-off and adventurous shore excursions.
  • Family cabins: Family cabins are available on Fiji cruises. The Murray Darling paddlesteamer has rooms capable of accommodating up to three people.
  • Family discounts: Child discounts available when booking adjoining staterooms on Fiji cruises. Discounts for triple occupancy available on Murray Darling cruises.

Best cruises for families of 4

  • Costa Cruises. Generous family cabins can accommodate up to four people, with special discounts for third and fourth guests.
  • Norwegian Cruises. Book two double suites to accommodate you and your kids, and double the fun with interconnecting rooms.
  • Carnival Cruise Line. Family rooms are made for up to four people, and you can take advantage of family discounts.
  • Celebrity Cruises. You can book a family veranda room, which can accommodate two adults and two children in separate bedrooms.

Best cruises for families of 5

  • Royal Caribbean. Royal Caribbean offers family rooms that can fit up to six people, with two twin beds, a pullout sofa and double bunk beds.
  • Disney Cruises. Family rooms can accommodate up to five people, so you can enjoy the magic of Disney without having to pay for an extra suite.
  • Cunard. This cruise line doesn't have any five-person rooms, but you can combine a triple and a double room for the best value.
  • Carnival Cruise Line. Most rooms are made for families of four but oceanview staterooms can fit families of five.

Family cruise cabins compared

Family room typesMaximum occupancy per roomAre interconnecting rooms available?
Disney Cruise LineDeluxe family staterooms5Yes
Norwegian Cruise LineFamily staterooms4Yes
Carnival Cruise LineFamily staterooms4Yes
P&O Cruises AustraliaQuad-share rooms and suites4Yes
Royal Caribbean InternationalFamily and two-bedroom cabins8Yes
Captain Cook CruisesFamily rooms (Fiji), paddle steamer cabins (Murray Darling)4 (Fiji) and 3 (Murray Darling)Yes

Importance of cruise travel insurance for families

Bringing the whole brood along on a trip isn't cheap and takes a lot of planning to make it happen.

If anything doesn't go quite according to that plan it's assuring to know that you can get cruise travel insurance that's specifically designed for sailings. Compared to regular travel insurance, cruise plans can include added benefits like missed shore excursions if there's bad weather in a port, lost or damaged formal wear if something happens to your bag along the journey and cabin confinement compensation if your family comes down with a contagious stomach bug..

Top cruise deals and flights

Uniworld Uniworld

Free Europe flights or save up to $1,000 + extra 10% off cruises

Available when you book a 2021 European voyage. Get 10% off when you pay full within 3 days. Destinations include France, Danube, Rhine, Milan, Holland, Belgium and much more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 15% off worldwide tours and cruises

Available on select 2020 and 2021 dates to Spain, France, Iceland, Turkey, Croatia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Cambodia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Cruise Direct Cruise Direct

Up to 30% off cruises + up to USD$2,000 OBC with Norwegian Cruise Line

Available on select dates from September 2020 - June 2021. Destination include New York, Bahamas, Greece, Auckland, Sydney and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Cruise Direct Cruise Direct

Up to 60% off 2nd guest + up to USD$1,000 OBC with Royal Caribbean

Available on select dates from September 2020 - June 2021. Destination include Bahamas, Vancouver, Hawaii, Sydney, Singapore and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

G Adventures G Adventures

Up to 40% off worldwide sailings

Available on select sail dates from September - December 2020 to Indonesia, Maldives, Croatia, Greece, Phuket and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Directferries.com Directferries.com

Indonesia: Up to 60% off ferries each way

Available for travel on select dates until 31 April 2020 with Gold Queen Fast Boat. Destinations include Nusa Penida, Denpasar and more. T&Cs apply.

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Deal ends

Directferries.com Directferries.com

Up to 46% off return ferries in Indonesia

Available for travel on select dates until 31 April 2020 with Gold Queen Fast Boat. Destinations include Nusa Penida, Denpasar and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Uniworld Uniworld

Up to 10% off 2021 cruises

Available on select 2021 dates. Destinations include Asia, Europe, Egypt, France, India, Italy, Portugal, Spain, Russia and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Uniworld Uniworld

Free Europe flights with cruise bookings

Available for travel from 26 April 2020 - 31 October 2021. Package includes accommodation, meals, onboard activities and more. T&Cs apply.

Last verified

Deal ends

Deals.com.au Deals.com.au

Up to 85% off experiences, holiday and shopping

Take up to 85% off experience, holiday and shopping deals at Deals.com.au. T&Cs apply.

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Popular Cruises coupon codes

Last checked Code description Code
17 Mar 2020 Free Europe flights or save up to $1,000 + extra 10% off cruises ********
20 May 2020 Up to 15% off worldwide tours and cruises ********
29 Apr 2020 Up to 30% off cruises + up to USD$2,000 OBC with Norwegian Cruise Line ********
29 Apr 2020 Up to 60% off 2nd guest + up to USD$1,000 OBC with Royal Caribbean ********
29 Apr 2020 Up to 40% off worldwide sailings ********

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